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Using habitat models for chinstrap penguins Pygoscelis antarctica to advise krill fisheries management during the penguin breeding season

Warwick-Evans, Victoria ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0583-5504; Ratcliffe, Norman; Lowther, Andrew D.; Manco, Fabrizio; Ireland, Louise; Clewlow, Harriet L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5925-9100; Trathan, Phil N.. 2018 Using habitat models for chinstrap penguins Pygoscelis antarctica to advise krill fisheries management during the penguin breeding season. Diversity and Distributions, 24 (12). 1756-1771. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12817

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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2018 The Authors. Diversity and Distributions Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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Abstract/Summary

Aim: To predict the at-sea distribution of chinstrap penguins across the South Orkney Islands and to quantify the overlap with the Southern Ocean krill fishery. Location: South Orkney Islands, Antarctica. Methods: Penguins from four colonies across the South Orkney Islands were tracked using global positioning systems (GPSs) and time depth recorders (TDRs). Relationships between a variety of environmental and geometric variables and the at-sea distribution of penguins were investigated using general additive models for the three main phases of the breeding season. Subsequently, the final models were extrapolated across the South Orkney archipelago to predict the at-sea distribution of penguins from colonies where no tracking data are available. Finally, the overlap between areas used by chinstrap penguins and the krill fishery was quantified. Results: The foraging distribution of chinstrap penguins can be predicted using two simple and static variables: the distance from the colony and the direction of travel towards the shelf-edge, while avoiding high densities of Pygoscelis penguins from other colonies. Additionally, we find that the chinstrap penguins breeding on the South Orkney Islands use areas which overlap with frequently used krill fishing areas and that this overlap is most prominent during the brood and crèche phases of the breeding season. Main conclusions: This is the first step in understanding the potential impacts of the krill fishery, for all colonies including those where no empirical tracking data are available. However, with the available data, it is not currently possible to infer an impact of the krill fisheries on penguins. With this in mind, we recommend the implementation of monitoring schemes to investigate the effects of prey depletion on predator populations and to ensure that management continues to follow a precautionary approach and is addressed at spatial and temporal scales relevant to ecosystem operation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12817
ISSN: 13669516
Additional Keywords: Antarctica, chinstrap penguin, Fisheries overlap, Habitat modelling, Krill fishery, Marine predator, Pygoscelis antarctica
Date made live: 27 Jul 2018 11:40 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520439

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